Birthstones

Thursday, 1 December 2016  |  Cristalmundo

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Birthstones are gemstones associated with particular months of the year or zodiac signs. They are often made into items of jewellery. These can make wonderful gifts for people with birthdays in that particular month.

History

Birthstones have been around since biblical times or even earlier.  Some scholars attribute the idea of a different stone for each month to the breastplate of Aaron. Allegedly, this breastplate was set with twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

However, the idea of wearing a gemstone according to a person’s birthday month is a relatively recent innovation which has been traced back to 18th century Poland.

Birthstone Charts

There are several different types of birthstone lists or charts currently in existence. These lists or charts are classified as traditional, modern, mystical, ayurvedic and zodiac. Birthstone charts can also vary from country to country. There are one or two though that have gained more widespread acceptance and are often referred to as “official” charts or lists.

The modern list is the one most commonly used when assigning gems to particular months. The traditional list is the second most prevalent. They coincide with some months having the same birthstone in both charts, whilst other months have completely different stones.   Some months also have more than one birthstone assigned to them.

The modern list has remained unchanged since 1912, apart from the odd “tweak”.  Birthstone lists, like everything else,  have now become commercialised.  They definitely help jewellers sell more gemstone jewellery so they are big business.  It is not surprising therefore that some jewellers seek to influence the official lists by adding gemstones they particularly wish to promote.  This birthstone promotion can sometimes result in a particular stone becoming very fashionable. An example is tanzanite which was added to the list in 2002 as the birthstone for December by the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA)  – even though December already had two birthstones.

Zodiac birthstones are also very popular which is why, for example,  you might associate blue topaz with December.  Blue topaz is the zodiac stone for both Capricorn and Sagittarius.

Modern Birthstone Chart

This is the list which people commonly refer to as “the official list”. It is universally accepted by jewellers internationally and is promoted by the American Gem Society.

Each month has at least one official birthstone, beginning with January, which is garnet.  See the table below for the full list.   Cubic zirconia, which is the lab-created version of diamond, is an acceptable substitute for April birthdays.  For October, lab-created opal is an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to mined opal.  The official birthstones for December are blue zircon, turquoise (and tanzanite since 2002).  However, many people prefer blue topaz from the zodiac list as a December birthstone. It is certainly more easily obtained and affordable than tanzanite.

Zodiac Birthstone Chart

The zodiac or astrological chart is not included in the table below because there are several zodiac charts, and it can become very confusing. Astrological birthstones are also often divided into three lists: ancient, traditional and modern. The modern chart which includes many lesser known semi-precious gems can list as many as twenty different stones per zodiac sign.

Here at Caravela Jewellery you will find jewellery featuring most of the birthstones that are listed in the charts below. As blue topaz is the most popular birthstone for December, an item of blue topaz real silver jewellery will make a very personal and excellent Christmas gift.

 

Month        

 

Traditional

 

Modern
January Garnet Garnet
February Amethyst, Pearl Amethyst
March Bloodstone, Jasper Aquamarine
April Diamond, Sapphire Diamond
May Emerald, Agate Emerald
June Tigers Eye, Turquoise, Agate Moonstone, Pearl
July Turquoise, Onyx Ruby
August Sardonyx, Carnelian, Moonstone, Topaz Peridot
September Chrysolite Sapphire
October Opal, Aquamarine Opal, Pink Tourmaline
November Topaz, Pearl Topaz, Citrine
December Bloodstone, Ruby, Blue Topaz Turquoise, Zircon, Tanzanite